Leader in global health security Dr. Wilmot James joins Brown School of Public Health

Dr. James brings his invaluable perspective to our School’s research in pandemic preparedness.

Wilmot G. James Ph.D., an internationally recognized thought leader in biosecurity, global health, and pandemic preparedness, will join the Brown University School of Public Health faculty, and serve as a senior advisor to the School’s Pandemic Center, effective March 20th.

“Dr. James brings his invaluable perspective to our School’s research in pandemic preparedness,” says Interim Dean Ronald Aubert. “His years of experience as a researcher and government leader will lend the Pandemic Center a strategic edge. I strongly feel that Dr. James’ illustrious career echoes our School’s ethos: ‘learn public health by doing public health.’”

Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, founding director of the Pandemic Center and professor of epidemiology, said, “The appointment of Dr. James is a significant advancement for the Pandemic Center. He brings to our School and Pandemic Center a record of leadership in strategy, diplomacy and a renowned legacy. His unique skills and on-the-ground experience building global partnerships will aid in promoting a better understanding of pandemic threats and preventing their impact on health, peace, security, and prosperity. This appointment demonstrates the commitment of the Pandemic Center and the Brown School of Public Health to tackling biological emergencies across the globe and minimizing their harms.”

James has served as Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Health in South Africa, and most recently held positions at Columbia University as Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy and as Chair of the Center for Pandemic Research. He is a highly sought-after consultant for organizations such as the African Society for Laboratory Medicine and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and serves on the advisory board of Resolve to Save Lives. James will use his extensive experience to address public health and national security challenges in his role as senior advisor to the Pandemic Center.

James joins an already deep bench of public health leaders at the Pandemic Center. Since the Center’s launch in October 2022, Brown has welcomed top experts in the field to advance research and policy in pandemic preparedness, and to address the most pressing public health issues of our time. He will join Nuzzo and Beth Cameron, the Center's senior advisor and professor of the practice of health services policy and practice at Brown.

James has published 17 books, including "Vital Signs: Health Security in South Africa," “Nature’s Gifts: Why We Are the Way We Are,” and “In his Own Words: Nelson Mandela” a compilation of Nelson Mandela's presidential speeches. He served as Federal Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance in South Africa, director of the Africa Genome Education Institute, and Trustee of the Ford Foundation of New York. At Columbia University, he taught Pandemics, Ethics and Governance at the School for Professional Studies, conducted research on children’s health security, and led conferences on planetary and catastrophic risks.